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Revolution clips Egyptair's wings

Jun 08 2011 10:42 James-Brent Styan

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Singapore - Egypt’s national carrier Egyptair is struggling to recover from a massive slump caused by the revolution that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak in February this year.

The airline, one of the three biggest in Africa, lost up to $80m at the peak of the crisis.

Hussein Massoud, the CEO of Egyptair, told Fin24 on Wednesday that while tourism to Egypt has been recovering quickly, business and other travel to the North African country is still slack.

“The tourism market represents between 8% and 10% of Egyptair’s business. Areas like Sharm el Sheik is pretty much back to normal. It’s just Cairo and Alexandra where there are still problems. However, we need business travel and other travel like scholar groups to start recovering. Egyptair’s business model depends on the regular scheduled flights and these are still not back to pre-revolution levels.”

Massoud said there were still several factors beyond its control.

“We need security to be 100% back to normal. Then political stability is needed and finally economic stability. The first important step towards all that is probably the elections coming up later this year.”

He is not worried about possible changes in the status quo, with a new government expected to be elected by the end of the year.

“The airline is important to everyone in Egypt and has a big role to play in Egypt.” Egyptair is owned by the Egyptian government.

He said the interim government also called on Egyptair to assist in evacuating Egyptians from  neighbouring Libya when that country erupted into civil war.

“We flew up to 45 daily flights into Libya, evacuating thousands of Egyptians. At the height of the crisis on February 28 we flew 9 000 people back to Egypt.” 

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